ws-map
WS_flag
Samoa
Official Name:

Independent State of Samoa

Last Updated: January 18, 2017

Embassy Messages

Further Safety and Security Information

Travel Warnings: Issued when Protracted situations make a country dangerous or unstable. Defer or reconsider travel.

Travel Alerts: Issued when short-term conditions pose imminent threats. Defer or reconsider travel.

Embassy Messages: Issued when local security issues arise.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

United Sates Embassy Samoa

ACC Building,
Matafele
Apia, Samoa

STEP Enrollment
View More Info
Quick Facts
PASSPORT VALIDITY:

No header has been set

Must be valid at time of entry

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:

No header has been set

One page requirement for entry stamp

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:

No header has been set

Not required for stays under 60 days

VACCINATIONS:

No header has been set

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:

No header has been set

None

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:

No header has been set

None

Country Map

United Sates Embassy Samoa

ACC Building,
Matafele
Apia, Samoa

Telephone: +685 21436 / 21631 / 21452 or 22696

Business Hours Emergency Telephone: (685) 21631 ext. 2222 or (685) 777-1776

Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(685) 777-1776. Please leave a message, and the Duty Officer will return your call.

Fax: +(685) 22030

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Samoa for information on U.S. - Samoa relations. 

Travelers must have a valid passport and an onward/return ticket to enter Samoa. U.S. citizens do not need a visa for stays in Samoa of 60 days or less. Non-citizen U.S. nationals will need a visitor permit before travelling to Samoa. 

Non-citizen U.S. nationals can apply for a visitor’s permit at the Samoa Consulate General office in Pago Pago, American Samoa:

Consulate General Of Samoa
PO Box 1313
Iupeli Siliva Building
Fagatogo, Maoputasi
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799
Ph: +684 6335919
Fax: +684 6335929

Visit the Samoa Immigration website for Samoa’s most current visa information. 

You must pay a departure tax when you leave the country (this tax is normally included in airfares).

You can find more information about entry requirements and the departure tax from the Samoa Mission to the United Nations at 800-2nd Avenue, Suite 400J, New York, NY 10017, ph: +(212) 599-6196 and fax: +(212) 599-0797, or by email.

Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to, and foreign residents of, Samoa. Visitors indicating they have tested HIV positive will be subject to questioning by a health professional upon entry. Please verify this information with the Samoan Overseas Mission before you travel.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction and customs regulations on our websites.

In the past, disputes between villages and the central government have led to protests, road blocks, and hostility between the police and villagers. Travelers should be aware of their surroundings as demonstrations can sometimes escalate into violence.

Crime:

  • You should remain aware of your surroundings, lock your doors at night, and do not leave your belongings unattended.
  • Incidents of petty theft and robberies are common in Samoa. Some incidents have involved residential break-ins.
  • While rare, violent assaults, including sexual assaults, have occurred in Samoa. Particular care should be taken near Apia’s downtown bars and restaurants, where a number of violent incidents involving foreigners and Samoans have occurred. No specific groups have been targeted, and there have been no reported racially motivated or hate crimes against U.S. citizens.
  • Police in Apia generally respond quickly to incidents. However, since there is a very limited police presence elsewhere in Samoa (where order is maintained primarily by local village authorities), police response outside of Apia is not as quick or reliable as it is in Apia.
  • See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime:

  • U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault should first contact the U.S. Embassy.
  • Report crimes to the local police at 22222 and contact the U.S. Embassy at 21631. 
  • Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
  • See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
  • provide a list of local attorneys
  • provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the U.S.
  • provide information about the Samoa Victims Support Group that helps victims of crime in Samoa with local law enforcement liaison and other related matters.
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.

For further information:

  • Health care facilities in Samoa are adequate for routine medical treatment but are limited in range and availability.
  • Complex illnesses and life-threatening emergencies, as well as related laboratory work, generally need to be treated elsewhere.
  • Serious medical conditions and treatments that require hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars.
  • The national hospital is located in Apia, and there are several small district hospitals on Savaii and in outlying areas of Upolu.
  • Dental facilities do not meet U.S. standards, but good dental treatment and some emergency medical care is available at the LBJ Tropical Medical Center in Pago Pago, American Samoa.
  • Pharmacies may not carry prescription or over-the-counter medicines, or the medicines may be of a different quality than those available in the United States.
  • There are no hyperbaric chambers on any of the islands for the treatment of scuba diving-related injuries. Serious cases of decompression sickness are evacuated to the nearest treatment center in Suva, Fiji, or Auckland, New Zealand.
  • We do not pay medical bills.
  • Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.  

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance  to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Samoa to ensure the medication is legal in Samoa. Always, carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. 

Zika Virus: Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby as well as through sexual contact. The CDC has concluded that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects in some fetuses and babies born to infected mothers. For additional information about Zika, including travel advisories, visit the CDC website.

Vaccinations:  Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information:

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. 

  • Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Samoa are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines, or death.
  • In Samoa, you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport or a copy of your passport with you or if you take pictures of certain buildings.
  • In Samoa, driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail.
  • Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law.  For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Behavior modification facilities:

  • There is one overseas treatment center or Behavior Modification Facility operating in Samoa.
  • Although this facility may be operated and staffed by U.S. citizens, the Samoan government is solely responsible for its compliance with local safety, health, sanitation, and educational laws and regulations, including all licensing requirements of the staff in country.
  • These standards may not be strictly enforced or meet the standards of similar facilities in the United States.
  • Parents should be aware that U.S. citizens and non-citizen nationals 16 years of age and older have a right to apply for a U.S. passport and to request repatriation assistance from the U.S. government, both without parental consent.
  • Any U.S. citizen or non-citizen U.S. national has the right to contact a representative from the U.S. Embassy. Parents may also contact the U.S. Embassy in Apia or the Office of American Citizens Services, Bureau of Consular Affairs.

Stray dogs: In Apia, and in many villages, stray dogs wander the streets.

  • You should not approach or feed them; they can become aggressive in the presence of food or if they feel threatened.
  • There have been several cases of attacks by multiple dogs.
  • Please exercise appropriate caution when you are walking, running, or riding a bike near stray dogs.

Ferry service:

  • Although there have been no major accidents involving the ferry service linking Upolu and Savaii, vessels are sometimes overloaded.
  • One of the ferries, a multi-deck, automobile ferry, sometimes transports passengers on its automobile deck.
  • To avoid injury from shifting vehicles, you should ride only in the passenger compartment, not on the automobile deck during the crossing, if you choose to use this ferry.

Blowholes:  Samoa has numerous “blowholes” (lava tubes open to the sea where wave action produces often spectacular geysers). These blowholes are popular tourist attractions. The footing around the mouths of most blowholes is very slippery. To avoid being swept in, you should not approach too closely and should never stand between the opening of the blowhole and the sea.

Water sports:

  • Snorkeling and diving in ocean lagoons are popular activities for many visitors to Samoa.
  • Tide changes can produce powerful currents in these lagoons.
  • You should consult local residents and tour operators about hazards and conditions at a particular location before you venture into the water.
  • There are virtually no lifeguards in Samoa.
  • You are responsible for your own safety.
  • Carefully investigate the qualifications of guides and tour operators, especially regarding water sports.

Financial transactions: Some businesses in Apia, especially those frequented by tourists, do accept credit cards, but many do not, including gas stations. Major hotels and some restaurants and stores accept major credit cards (Visa, Master Card, and American Express). You can get Samoan currency from ATMs, which are located in Faleolo Airport, Salelologa, and in many locations in Apia. For more information on ATM locations and banking services, visit the ANZ Bank website or the BSP website.

Disaster preparedness:

  • Samoa is located in an area of high seismic activity called the “Ring of Fire” and is subject to earthquakes which can trigger a tsunami..
  • The rainy (or monsoon) season in the South Pacific is from November to April, when strong winds, heavy rains, landslides, and disruptions to services could occur.
  •  For information about tropical cyclone preparedness, visit our Tropical Season – Know Before You Go and Natural Disaster webpages, and NOAA's Tropical Cyclones Preparedness Guide.

Customs:

  • Samoan customs authorities may enforce strict regulations about importing or exporting items such as firearms, fruits, pets and other animals, and drugs.
  • You should contact the Samoan Mission to the United Nations at 800 2nd Avenue, Suite 400J, New York, NY 10017, telephone: (212) 599-6196 for specific information regarding customs requirements.
  • You can also consult the Samoa Ministry of Revenue and the Samoa Quarantine website.

Faith-Based Travelers:  See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

LGBTI Travelers:  Same-sex acts are a crime in Samoa, with prison terms of up to seven years. The Crimes Ordinance 1961 and the more recent Crimes Act 2013, which came into effect 1 May 2013, criminalize same-sex acts.

  • There is no recognition of same-sex relationships, marriage or adoption by same-sex couples in Samoa.
  • There are also no anti-discrimination laws in place.
  • Although the country is historically tolerant towards homosexuality, especially with regards to “fa’afafine,” the third-gendered Samoans, efforts to modernize the law under the Crimes Act 2013 were unsuccessful; however, the updated statute did eliminate the section that made it an offence for a male to dress as a female.
  • In many Samoan families it is not uncommon to raise a male child as a girl who plays an important role in domestic duties or the work force to provide for elderly parents and younger siblings.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our   Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance. While in Samoa, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from in the United States.

  • There is no law pertaining specifically to the status of disabled persons.
  • Most major hotels, restaurants, and cafes are actively restructuring their facilities to accommodate persons with disabilities. However, disabled travelers should clarify with the hotel what accommodations are available before they book.
  • Persons with disabilities have easy access to medical facilities.
  • Some family-based beach accommodations in the outer villages are also working to provide accessibility for disabled persons.
  • Many of the new multi-story buildings provide ramps and elevators, but older public buildings do not.
  • The blind and persons in wheelchairs or on crutches will have difficulty navigating in and around Apia because of a limited number of stoplights and sidewalks.
  • Traffic is particularly hazardous for the disabled in rural areas that have no footpaths and sidewalks.
  • Most buses and taxis do not have ramps to accommodate wheelchairs.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Road Conditions and Safety:

  • Urban roads in Apia and the main roads circumnavigating and crossing the island are all generally kept in fair condition, although bumps and potholes are common.
  • Side streets tend to be gravel or dirt and their condition varies considerably, particularly during the rainy season when ruts and bumps develop.
  • Roads outside Apia are often narrow, winding, relatively steep, with narrow or no shoulders, and poorly lighted.
  • Pedestrians as well as vehicles and livestock regularly travel these roads.
  • Due to poor and deteriorating road conditions, night driving on unlit rural roads can be dangerous and should be avoided if possible.
  • Roads in Samoa often traverse small streams.
  • You should exercise extreme caution when fording these streams, which can become swollen and dangerous with little warning.
  • Vehicles should never enter a stream if the roadbed is not visible or if the water’s depth is more than the vehicle’s clearance.

Traffic Laws:  

  • Traffic travels on the left in Samoa, and you should exercise extra caution if you are accustomed to driving on the right.
  • Some vehicles in Samoa have left-hand drive steering systems, including rental vehicles and public transportation.
  • There are a few significant differences in the “rules of the road” in Samoa as compared to the United States (e.g., meeting situation at an intersection).
  • Drivers should familiarize themselves with operating requirements and local traffic laws before operating a vehicle in Samoa.

Public Transportation:

  • Taxis are widely available and used by Samoans and visitors alike.
  • Some taxis are unlicensed, so you should use care in choosing a taxi and driver.
  • Buses are slow, crowded, uncomfortable, undependable, and rarely used by visitors.
  • You can use rental cars, but be aware that limited roadside assistance is available.
  • Most major roads are tar-sealed, but secondary roads are predominantly dirt and gravel and may be rough and/or overgrown with vegetation.
  • A four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended for travel on secondarye roads.
  • You should be aware that vehicle safety regulations are rarely enforced, and traffic violations occur routinely.
  • See our Road Safety page for more information. 
  • Visit the website of the  Samoa Tourism Authority  for road safety information.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Samoa’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Samoa’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

Country Map
{{tsglinks.dash}}
This site is managed by the U.S. Department of State. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorement of the views or privacy pollicies contained therein.